Party In New Orleans: 1982 North Carolina Basketball & 1982 Penn State Football
This is part of a series of sports history articles celebrating the best in 1982 sports. This piece asks the question of which geographic fan base had the best year in ’82.
There were sports markets that had good years in 1982, even very good years. We might start with Washington D.C. The Redskins won their first Super Bowl and the Georgetown basketball team came within a bucket of the NCAA title. Or southern California. The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA title and if you were an Angels fan you watched your team get to within a run of reaching the World Series.
GREAT 1980s SPORTS MOMENTS
Start reading today.
Atlanta had a nice year, even if there was no championship. The Georgia football team carried the load, with Herschel Walker winning the Heisman Trophy and the team enjoying an undefeated regular season before losing the national title in the Sugar Bowl to Penn State. The Dawgs got support from local teams in the Atlanta Braves, who reached the National League Championship Series, and the Atlanta Falcons, who snagged the #5 seed in the NFC playoffs in a strike-shortened year.
All of these fan bases had seasons worthy of praise, and if you ask me to pick which one was best, I’d go with Washington, as they came the closest to winning two championships. But the real place to be in 1982 sports was New Orleans.
It wasn’t because the New Orleans Saints had a big year, or that LSU was dominant in either football or basketball. But two head coaches, already on their way legendary status, won their first national championships in 1982 and came to the Bayou to do it.
The springtime saw North Carolina’s Dean Smith bring his seventh Final Four team to New Orleans and finally win a national championship. And later in the year, Penn State’s Joe Paterno, after coming close to national titles but falling short four other times (for a variety of reasons not always his fault) took home his first crown in the Sugar Bowl. Thus, a tribute to Dean and Joe Pa really becomes a tribute to New Orleans in the sports year that was 1982.
Read more about the 1982 North Carolina basketball team
Read more about the 1982 Penn State football team
SportsNotebook Featured Products
View Our Complete Catalog
The Sports Notebook Newsletter
TheSportsNotebook.com is home to an extensive archive of sports history articles along with blog posts on contemporary sports.
Shop Our Digital Catalog
- College Basketball History Articles
- College Football History Articles
- MLB History
- NBA History Articles
- NFL History Articles
- Sports History Articles
- Stanley Cup History
1973 UCLA Football: More Success & More Shadows
Pepper Rodgers was in his third year as the head coach in Westwood. By this point, the football program was clearly working in the shadows of John Wooden’s legendary basketball program, who were merely fresh off their seventh straight NCAA title the previous March. The football Bruins were no slouch, but were after their first […]
1973 USC Football: A Step Back & But Still The Pac-8’s Best
USC has always, in varying degrees, played good football throughout the long history of its program. But the Trojans were never more dominant than under head coach John McKay. Arriving in Los Angeles in 1960, McKay won a national title by 1962. He won another one in 1967. A third championship came in 1972. The […]
1973 LSU Football: The Last High Point of the McClendon Era
Charles McClendon came to Baton Rouge in 1962 and inherited an LSU program that was thriving. The Tigers had won a national title as recently as 1958, with the legendary Billy Cannon in the backfield. That was part of a run where LSU finished in the national top 5 three times in four years. And […]
1973 Texas Football: The Last Run For An SWC Dynasty
The glory days of Texas Longhorns football came when the great Darrel Royal was on the sidelines. Royal came to Austin in 1957. He won a national title in 1963. And by the late 1960s and early 1970s, the program was peaking. Another national championship came in 1969. The Longhorns won an outright league title […]
The Derailed 3-Peat Bid Of The 1974 Miami Dolphins
Don Shula’s Miami Dolphins were riding high, having won three consecutive AFC championships and two straight Super Bowl titles. But there was a lot of rockiness in the waters of South Beach, from player dissatisfaction off the field and some injuries in it. The 1974 Miami Dolphins were still very good, and it took one […]
The Repeat Super Bowl Run Of The 1973 Miami Dolphins
1972 had been a historic year, for both football in Miami, and in the NFL. The Dolphins not only won the Super Bowl in their seventh year of existence, they did with an undefeated season. The 1973 Miami Dolphins didn’t run the table, but they did win a repeat championship. And given the fact they […]
The Undefeated Season Of The 1972 Miami Dolphins
In 1970, Don Shula took over Miami’s four-year old expansion franchise and immediately put them in the playoffs. One year later, they went to a Super Bowl. The 1972 Miami Dolphins not only took the final step, they did it in historic fashion—the only undefeated season in league history that was capped off with a […]
1971 Miami Dolphins: A Breakthrough Super Bowl Trip
In their sixth year of existence, and in the second season under head coach Don Shula, the 1971 Miami Dolphins were seen as a team on the rise. Shula had put the Fish in the playoffs in his first year of 1970. Now, Miami was looking to take the next step. They did just that, […]